How Steven Van Zandt’s role in Bruce Springsteen’s group was like Silvio Dante’s role
If you go back to the beginning of The Sopranos, you see that Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) does not start as consigliere of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). In the pilot, when Silvio says hello to the Satriale gang, he owns a strip club / soprano associate in his neighborhood.
In fact, “What are you doing here?” is the first question Tony asks Silvio. But that changes a lot as the series progresses. After a while, Silvio becomes Tony’s right-hand man. Silvio is the only one who can openly challenge Tony and get away with it (see: the fiber optic cable mess).
Like a lot of things Sopranos, the writers adopted this line when they learned more about Van Zandt’s life outside of the series. For years, Van Zandt had the same type of role in Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band.
Steven Van Zandt was sort of Bruce Springsteen’s consigliere before ‘The Sopranos’
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On the Talking about the sopranos podcast, Van Zandt explained how a retired hitman (Silvio’s story) and the current owner of Bada Bing became the consigliere of North Jersey Mafia boss Tony Soprano.
“We ended up making him one of Tony’s main guys,” Van Zandt said. “After a while my real life started to be used by writers – and by myself, mentally. It was kind of the job that I had with Bruce Springsteen for a long time – as his right-hand man, his consigliere, kind of the job of sub-boss.
Overtime, Sopranos writers have become known for using details from the life of actors for their on-screen characters. But while you see it most clearly with the character of Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico), Van Zandt revealed that they also did it with the character of Silvio.
“I knew what the dynamics were in this [boss-consigliere] relationship, ”Van Zandt explained. “When you’re the only one who can tell the boss the bad news.” You are the only one not to fear it. The writers have understood this. David Chase got it.
Silvio Dante’s role started to take shape in ‘The Sopranos’ season 2
You can never think too far with a TV series. After successfully getting the pilot made, Chase waited a long time for HBO to order the show’s first season. And Chase wasn’t sure if there would be another season to follow that up. (In the original story, Tony killed his mother at the end of Season 1.)
Van Zandt recalled his character of Silvio Dante by following this same type of progression. “It started to happen more in the second season,” he said on Talking about the sopranos. “The first season was just a great experience, because [Chase] and me. I was not sure that I was going to like [acting]. “
At this point, Van Zandt had never worked as an actor. His appearance in the series is therefore his own unusual story. “The [acting] process is very, very strange for a musician, ”explained Van Zandt. “Musicians, we go to a studio and you play, and you hear what you play. And you can adjust. Act, you act, and you see it six months later. You don’t see what you are doing!